'We’ll certainly be taking as much pressure off the boy as possible...'

Declan Devine keen to protect Man. City star Hodge

Derry City

Joe Hodge with Paddy McCourt and Declan Devine

Declan Devine has urged Derry City fans to welcome Joe Hodge to the club and help fulfil his huge potential in his time at the Brandywell.

Signing Hodge to a six-month loan deal has caused plenty of noise in England and Ireland with the move seen as a huge coup for the Candystripes.

The 18-year-old is very highly rated, but Devine has urged people to look beyond the headlines and understand that Hodge is a teenager who has yet to experience senior football.

“It’s great for us as a football club,” he said.

“Obviously the young fella had quite a few options but the bottom line is that we’re delighted to welcome Joe to the club, we’re delighted to do business with a powerhouse of a club like Man. City, but ultimately it’s about adding to the squad and bringing in a young player with loads of potential.

“We want to look after the kid. We want to give him a platform to show his ability, but there’s a lot of work to be done now. Joe is a very level-headed young lad and I’m sure he will take to it quite well.

“We have to understand however that he is a kid of 18 years of age, he never played a senior game, we’re all really excited and looking forward to it, but at the same time, we need to let him grow into it, let him enjoy it and let him show people the ability he possesses.

“As a football club we’ll certainly be taking as much pressure off the boy as possible, because we just want to see him go express himself and enjoy himself, and work with the players that’s there. The experienced players we already have there will really help him settle him and hopefully we see the benefits as that.”

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